Spring is around the corner already -- what a year so far! Some
exciting things have been happening:
* Hemp farming legislation has been gaining momentum, with four states
likely to pass bills and federal legislation coming this spring.
* We have finally launched our new Web site, so check it out and let us
know what you think.
Help us continue to keep moving hemp into the mainstream, fighting for
legislative change and the ability for American farmers to grow hemp to
feed American people and industry. Donations to Vote Hemp with various
gift incentives can be made at:
_Hemp Farming Legislation Gaining Momentum_
Four States Likely to Pass Bills This Year
Federal Legislation Coming This Spring
We believe that four state legislatures are likely to pass legislation
this year that would allow farmers and researchers to grow industrial
hemp. In California, New Hampshire, Oregon and North Dakota business
leaders, farmers and legislators are backing legislation that would
bring back hemp farming almost 50 years after the crop was taken away
from farmers who grew the versatile plant for centuries.
"Hemp farming has become a lucrative crop for farmers in Europe, Canada and Asia, so farmers here are asking 'Why are we being left out?'" says Alexis Baden-Mayer, Director of Government Relations for Vote Hemp.
"The states considering hemp legislation this year are serious about the
issue despite the federal government's de-facto ban on hemp cultivation
that stems from misguided marijuana prohibition. Regardless of the
federal ban, state legislators are listening to farmers and business
owners who think the federal restrictions are not based on scientific
arguments -- and actually hurt U.S. economic interests since it is legal
to import, process, sell and consume hemp seed and hemp fiber products."
For thousands of years different varieties of Cannabis have been
cultivated for non-drug uses such as paper, textiles, soap, food,
building materials and more recently high-tech bio-composites used in
automobiles. Hemp and marijuana come from different varieties of the
Cannabis plant. "Because there are at least 1.5 million cars on the road
with hemp door panels, tens of millions of dollars are spent annually on
hemp food and hemp body care, and hemp paper is being made here in the U.S., people are asking tough questions about why the U.S. government won't distinguish low-THC hemp from high-THC drug varieties. I believe there will be federal legislation soon to address needed reforms," says Baden-Mayer.
Highlights of State Hemp Legislation:
Over the past decade at least twenty-five pro-hemp bills have been
considered by state legislatures and fourteen have become law. Five
states (Hawaii, Kentucky, Montana, North Dakota and West Virginia) allow
for hemp farming on a commercial or research basis.
Bills being considered this year include:
California -- Assembly Bill 1147 would give farmers the right to apply
for state licenses to grow low-THC varieties of hemp. The law would be
similar to regulations on industrial hemp in other countries such as
Canada and the European Union. The University of California would also
conduct research on industrial hemp.
New Hampshire -- House Bill 55-FN-A would let farmers apply for a state
license to grow industrial hemp. Qualifying farmers must have no
criminal convictions and plant at least five acres per year. Only hemp
seed sold to farmers by the NH Commissioner of Agriculture would be
approved for planting to ensure only low-THC varieties of the plant are
North Dakota -- House Bill 1492 passed the House on February 16, passed
the Senate on March 1, and is awaiting action by the Governor. HB 1492
allows North Dakota State University to start storing "feral hemp seed"
in preparation for the day it becomes legal to grow industrial hemp in
the U.S. The vote was 87-3 in the House and 46-0 in the Senate. In 1999
North Dakota was the first state to pass hemp farming legislation, but
to date the state has not challenged federal supremacy over the issue in
Oregon -- Senate Bill 294 permits production and possession of
industrial hemp and trade in industrial hemp commodities and products.
The bill authorizes the State Department of Agriculture to administer a
licensing, permitting and inspection program for growers and handlers of
Visit our state legislation page for up-to-date information on all hemp
legislation introduced since 1995:
_New Web Site_
We just launched our newly-revamped Web site! Let us know what you
think, and also please report any bugs you find to
. There are some sections that are still being
developed, so bear with us, but everything from our previous site is in
there. Your donations help us complete projects like this, creating
effective tools to educate, register and mobilize voters in America.
Check it out:
_Thanks for Supporting Vote Hemp_
We hope that our successful efforts to date in challenging the
government's irrational hemp policy will inspire you to contribute
essential funds so we can propel our work to its next stage -- and see
American farmers growing hemp again.
You should know that 100% of your donation goes towards our very
important work. We are run mostly by a volunteer board with the help of
many other concerned citizens willing to donate their time. Your
valuable contribution will be put to work immediately, helping to ensure
the future place of hemp in our country and lives.
Donate online at our secure Web site, or mail your donation to us at:
Vote Hemp, P.O. Box 862, Bedford, MA 01730.
Note that Vote Hemp is a 501c(4) non-profit organization, and donations
are not tax-deductible. If you wish to make a tax-deductible donation
through one of our affiliated foundations to specifically support our
educational work, or would like to set up a regular monthly donation
program, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
to arrange to do so.
2005 is shaping up to be a good year for hemp and our work here at Vote
Hemp. Thanks for being there with us.
Vote Hemp Board
P.S. -- We encourage everyone to forward this email to at least two
friends and ask them to sign up on our Action Alert email list at:
P.P.S. -- Let us know what you think about our new Web site. Your
donations help us complete projects like this, creating effective tools
to educate, register and mobilize voters in America. Check it out:
What Can I Do?